For kids and grownups, there's a lot to be said for "filler" games - they are quick to set up and play, easy to teach to friends, and usually quite portable. Oh, and all of these picks are $20 or less.
($12.95, 2-4 players, Age 10+, 15 minutes)
Burger and fries! Bacon and eggs! Order Up! It's a race to serve your tables, score points, and clean up before the shift ends. Try out diner for a frantic, real-time scramble that's over just when you're getting out of breath.
($14.95, Age 10+, 20 minutes)
Love Letter, the best "micro game" of recent years gets a Batman makeover! This is a card game you can learn in a couple minutes, but will want to play over and over. Can you guess who has which villain? Be the last one holding a card and you win.
($17.95, 2-6 players, Age 8+, 20 minutes)
The adorable art might have you thinking Sushi Go is a kids' game. Play a card, pass your hand to your neighbour, repeat. It is super-easy to learn, but the strategy is actually quite good. Collect different sets of cards and watch what your opponents are collecting to keep them from scoring big.
($14.95, 2-6 players, Age 8+, 20 min)
A really simple high-low game with tremendously cool art. Definitely a beer and pretzels game.
($19.95, 2-6 players, Age 6+, 15 minutes)
Kids love a game where they can actually beat the grown-ups, and Thumbs Up is a fast and fun chalenge for little fingers and quick brains. Flip over a card, and be the first to stack the rings on your thumb in the right order! Whoever gets the right stack first scores a card. Speedy fun!
($19.95, 2-4 players, Age 12+, 30 minutes)
Collect four of a colour to score a set. Score three sets and you win. Sounds simple, right? But wait: The dice limit what you an do on any given turn, and your opponents can spend their "tickets" to block your actions. All of a sudden things have gotten interesting!